Friday, November 5, 2010

Road Trip: Why I Even Love the Garbage in N.Y.C

Aah...huge heaps of trash on the sidewalks...I am home. Well, not home where I live, or have ever lived, or have any family that lives, but home where at least part of my heart is. I am back in New York City. 

As we drove through the drizzle into the crazy pedestrian strewn streets of Manhattan, it was the first time I realized just how far we had come. It was also the first time I had ever maneuvered a vehicle in this city, and I would really like to never do it again if possible. Not that I couldn't manage, but these particular pedestrians are both fearless and unruly and I'd prefer not to have to strike anyone, by accident of course. 

I had one full day to spend with my city, so I was determined to make the best of it. Soho and I were going to have a wonderful day together! I left my road-trip companion to his sightseeing, and opted instead for a more shopping oriented day. After all, road-tripping can take a lot out of a girl, so I figured shopping would be an excellent way to refuel. I had a cream cheese slathered bagel from a tiny corner store and hopped the "N" train to Prince Street. I zipped out of the subway with all the confidence of a local, and climbed the the stairs to the street level leaving the slightly putrid, yet strangely familiar stench behind me. As the sun embraced me and several passersby brushed passed me in their flurry from here to there, I couldn't have been happier. It had been over a year since I was last in New York; we were finally reunited and it felt better than good. 

I shopped around enjoying crying over all of the things I couldn't buy (although I did allow myself a few treats) before stopping for the ubiquitous street hot dog. Now, I was by myself with arms full of shopping bags–ahem–I hands were tied, so the eating of the hot dog presented a bit of a challenge. I found a ledge outside of a shop window and sat down carefully in my sundress. So what if the heavenly mustard/onion mixture was dripping into a little pile beneath me–if it doesn't get all over the place...right? The shuffling crowd faded away, and the honking cabs quieted, it was just me and the hot dog. I didn't even care that people were looking at me as though I had elephants dancing on my head. Hasn't anyone ever seen a girl in a dress thoroughly enjoy a hot dog on a ledge at the side of the road? Geeze.

A day in the city wouldn't have been complete without a visit to Central Park, so I went. I sat on the marble in front of FAO Schwarz and enjoyed a panini while waiting for my friend. We took a stroll through the park and ate roasted peanuts and watched a guy make a really large bubble and collect money from awed spectators. For the many times I've walked/biked/skipped through this park, I always see something new. It seemed as though I was filling every other moment with something to eat.

The evening ended with a pasta dinner we couldn't refuse at the home of our gracious host, before leaving to meet a friend at Joe's Pizza place for more dinner, only to realize that wasn't the pizza place I wanted my friend to try, so of course we had to stop for another slice at the other place. My stomach was literally on the verge of explosion, but when there's so much to eat and so little time, you do what you must. Jazz and drinks at  Groove Live Music Bar was the perfect place to let my overindulgence subside. A late night walk through Times Square was the cherry on top of a day well spent. I love this city. 

I can eat, I can shop, I can explore, I can wander, and I can experience culture every time I visit New York City, and there will still be a thousand and one things I have yet to discover. It's like one of those choose your own adventure books, only the book has no ending, and each path you choose is just as interesting as the last.

Sure the trash smells, and invites rats and vermin, and crowds already mobbed sidewalks, but when you are in love, you tend to overlook the bad things. The heaping bags of smelly garbage just blend right into the background of a scene in a city that I love, and remind me how happy I am to be here.


Thuyen said...

I was just there! My, how it is so fresh in my memory. There's nothing like the feel of NYC, and you managed to squeeze a lot in a day.

Tim said...

ahhh upper east side manhatten, lived there for a month with a few the city...if only I had money haha. Your love stories with the hot dog and cheesesteaks are perfect, really takes you to that moment...and I love choose your own adventure books haha!

Lisa said...

My goodness, you make want to get on a plane right this minute...destination: N.Y.C! Thanks for this very special blog that made me reminisce about all the things I LOVE of that beautiful city!

Spencer Spellman said...

NYC continues to be one of my favorite cities in the world. I never get tired of visiting.

Thanks also Tara for including me on your blog roll! You put me alongside some lofty company!

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